Opening lines from books published the week of Feb. 20/27, 1998

“When he was small, he was often mistaken for a girl. It was still the fashion in many well-to-do families to dress little boys in gowns of lace and taffeta, and Paula Bonhoeffer considered a skirt a convenience to Fräulein Horn, who must change the diapers.” From Saints and Villains (Norton), Denise Giardina’s historical novel about Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the German pastor who was executed for his part in a plot to assassinate Hitler

“I woke up with a hangover and roof tar on my feet and a vague recollection of pacing around up there half the night. I think I threw a bottle at the building next door and somebody yelled something.” From Jen Banbury’s debut novel, Like a Hole in the Head (Little, Brown)